House Speaker Nancy Pelosi barely addressed the disaster in Afghanistan this week as the House of Representatives met for just a few days to maneuver alongside a number of the Democrats’ home legislative agenda, then closed up store as the terror threat to U.S. evacuation efforts in Afghanistan grows.
With the Senate additionally out of town, President Biden is left alone on the helm of the federal government whereas alarm bells sound a couple of potential threat to the Kabul airport the place American troops are frantically making an attempt to evacuate residents earlier than Aug. 31.
“There is an ongoing and excessive threat of terrorist assault. Do not journey to Kabul Hamid Karzai International Airport. If you’re within the space of the airport, transfer away to a secure location,” the United Kingdom’s authorities advised residents there.
“Because of safety threats outdoors the gates of Kabul airport, we’re advising U.S. residents to keep away from touring to the airport and to keep away from airport gates right now until you obtain particular person directions from a U.S. authorities consultant to take action,” the U.S. Embassy in Kabul stated to Americans.
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A senior U.S. official elaborated to Fox News, saying the threat by ISIS-Ok or one other affiliate of a car bomb or suicide bomber has been measured as “extra seemingly than unlikely” for during the last 24 hours.
But the House of Representatives in its two days in session this week took no votes on Afghanistan-related laws. The solely main votes it took have been on a Democrat-backed elections invoice and a procedural “rule” that advances Democrats’ $3.5 trillion spending plan whereas scheduling a vote for the bipartisan infrastructure invoice.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., slammed Pelosi, D-Calif., over what he alleged was a scarcity of deal with an important challenge of the second.
Pelosi was across the Capitol “late into the evening” engaged on Democrats’ spending agenda, McCarthy stated, however “not one second of that point was spent on getting Americans house from Afghanistan.”
McCarthy continued: “What do you suppose these Americans have been doing late at evening, looking for a path to get to that airport?… Not one second was spent on – not one greenback was handed this time in Congress. Five trillion, simply deemed not debated, none of that cash going to assist an American get again.”
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“The president advised us that the Taliban would allow you to go to the airport. The Taliban is now shutting it down. We watched that individuals aren’t being overwhelmed – however that is the report that we’re getting,” McCarthy additionally stated, noting a number of false statements Biden’s made on the Afghanistan points. “Why would not we spend time on that in Congress? Why are we departing now? The speaker has management over that.”
The most vital feedback from Pelosi on Afghanistan got here in a press convention through which she stated, “Our hopes and prayers and ideas are with the folks there.” She additionally lauded members, Rep Jason Crow, D-Colo., particularly, for supporting a invoice to assist enhance the federal government’s functionality to evacuate American allies from Afghanistan. But that laws got here in July, properly earlier than the scenario in Afghanistan deteriorated.
Pelosi additionally condemned Reps. Peter Meijer, R-Mich., and Seth Moulton, D-Mass., for touring to Afghanistan this week, saying they put themselves and these round them at risk by doing so. But she bristled when requested whether or not the truth that the congressmen believed the journey crucial amid such a dire scenario indicated a possible drawback within the Biden administration’s evacuation of Americans.
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“No,” Pelosi stated. “I feel it speaks to that they wished to freelance on their very own. I might not make something larger of this.”
Pelosi’s workplace didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark asking for a response to McCarthy’s criticism.
Nevertheless, members of the House and Senate proceed to say that they’re getting experiences from constituents and different Americans in Afghanistan that they’re unable to get to the Kabul airport and be evacuated. Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated Wednesday about 1,500 Americans are nonetheless in Afghanistan and need to go away, and that the State Department has had direct contact with 500 previously 24 hours. Blinken stated 4,500 Americans had been evacuated.
This comes as the White House stated Thursday that 17 U.S. army flights between 3 a.m. Wednesday and 3 a.m. Thursday evacuated 5,100 folks from Kabul. The White House didn’t present numbers on what number of Americans have been amongst these evacuated in that interval.
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Biden Thursday is meeting with his nationwide safety crew within the morning on the Afghanistan scenario earlier than meeting with new Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. In the afternoon, Biden will meet just about with governors who agreed to resettle U.S. allies from Afghanistan of their states.
That schedule may very well be upended, nonetheless, if a terror assault strikes the Kabul airport the place the U.S. army continues evacuations.
Fox News’ Chad Pergram, Erin McEwan, Nick Kalman and Jacqui Heinrich contributed to this report.